It's election time and that means one thing: party political broadcasts streaming through any and all media. Not wanting to be left out, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association has put together its own manifesto ahead of the general election on 8 June.
The WSTA has limited itself to what it calls five key asks of all political parties. First up, it asks for a well-managed Brexit; second, is promotion of free-trade deals; third is to address an 'excessive' tax regime; fourth, is support for tackling alcohol harm and fifth is for an innovative industrial strategy.
'This snap general election provides a vital opportunity for the UK's world leading wine and spirit industry,' WSTA chief exec, Miles Beale, said.
'We need to communicate to new decision makers what has to be done to ensure that our industry can thrive in today’s new political, economic and social landscape. We will use our manifesto to help the incoming members of parliament understand our business needs. Following our lead a new government can help our industry to continue to grow, innovate and contribute to the already significant £50bn worth of economic activity and our ground breaking work to reduce alcohol harm.'
Beale says potential can be found amidst the uncertainty. Potential, he says, lies in the boom in British spirits exports and there are possibilities to reach new export markets around the world.
'The WSTA will be working tirelessly to achieve our key aims: continued, tariff-free movement of wines and spirits to and from the EU; new, tariff-free trade agreements with priority countries outside the EU; and, equally, safe passage of our goods - with no additional checks or delays at borders, even once we have left the customs union.'
WSTA Manifesto in full:
1. Provide certainty to business via a well-managed Brexit, including sufficient transitional arrangements; and continue to work towards frictionless, tariff free trade with the EU;
2. Promote free trade with non-EU countries, working with the WSTA to develop the best deal for the wine and spirit trade and to promote British produce around the world;
3. Rebalance the excessively high duty burden on UK businesses and consumers by pledging to revise plans to increase wine and spirit duty by 26% (£1.9bn) over 5 years;
4. Support proven approaches to reducing alcohol harm through partnership working and self-regulation; and agree to a moratorium on further regulation;
5. Support the Great British wine and spirit industry by promoting sector deals, under an innovative industrial strategy: for wine and spirits, for food and drink and for British hospitality.